Vaughn Grissom is yet another Braves prospect on the ascent

Sunday, September 5, 2021

-Clint Manry

They say A-ball is the first step into the real world of professional baseball, usually following the mastering of one of two rookie-level leagues (or both) such as the Dominican Summer League (DSL) and Florida Coast League (FCL). As a teenager, the Braves Vaughn Grissom already paid his rookie dues, playing in 44 games with the FCL Braves in 2019 as a young 18-year-old. Evidently that was all he needed.

Coming out of that year’s MLB Draft as an 11th-round pick by Atlanta, Grissom’s performance two years ago no doubt put him on the map as an up-and-coming prospect. In 184 PA in ’19, Grissom hit .288 with 11 XBH and 23 RBI, good enough to post an above average 120 wRC+. If not for a global COVID-19 outbreak, the 6-3, 180-pound shortstop would’ve most likely made his A-ball debut last year.

But Grissom’s big promotion into the full-season ranks had to wait until 2021. To begin this season the Braves assigned him to Single-A Augusta where he was nearly 1.5 years younger than the average player. His 20- and 25-grade Hit and Power tools (given to him by FanGraphs coming out the ’19 draft) certainly didn’t seem to hold him back. Grissom’s 24 XBH (five homers) in 75 games with the GreenJackets came out of nowhere, and his .311 AVG and 13 stolen bases showed that he’s way more than just a glove-first middle-infielder. To anyone that’s been paying attention, this is a top 100 prospect in the making… and there’s no signs of him slowing down.

Finally, just as the calendar flipped to September, the Braves promoted Grissom to the highest level of A-ball… to Rome. If he can perform so well in Low-A… perhaps the same results will come in High-A. Grissom played his first game with the loaded R-Braves offense this past Thursday. In that debut, all of his tools were on display as he worked two walks, singled, scored a run and stole a base. In his second game on Friday, Grissom showcased his power by hitting his first home run with Rome. On Saturday he singled again and knocked in two more runs, pushing his AVG up to .444 while at his newest level of competition. Today, with Rome wrapping up its series versus Winston-Salem, it appears Grissom received a much-needed day off.

Grissom’s ascent this season probably isn’t the biggest storyline among the Braves minor league organization. Players like Shea Langeliers, Jesse Franklin V and the quartet of pitchers from last year’s draft are all highlights from 2021 that most likely deserve more attention once the campaign is over. But just because the Braves farm has featured a ton of success this season doesn’t mean we shouldn’t discuss what Grissom has accomplished in such a short time. In the span of a season, this kid has evolved from a fringy prospect into one that could potentially crack the top 10 in the near future. In my Midseason Top 30, I already have Grissom ranked 13th, just behind fellow infielder Braden Shewmake (who has been with Double-A Mississippi all season). Like Shewmake, Grissom will soon get his chance to show what he can do in the upper-minors.

So as part of a long list of success stories from the 2021 season, you can now add Grissom to the mix. Many of us maybe didn’t even really know this kid at the start of the year, but now he’s likely on everyone’s list of talented Braves prospects. The 2022 campaign will certainly be a big one for Grissom. In just his age-21 season, he’ll likely face Double-A pitching in 2022, suggesting he’s only within a couple of years of possibly debuting in the majors. That’s crazy to think about for a young player who’s just now reaching 80 total games above the rookie level. But that’s how it goes when a prospect catches fire like this. A-ball has been the first real test for this kid, and Grissom is currently passing it with flying colors. Let the hype begin!

Luke Waddell promoted to M-Braves; Vaughn Grissom to Rome

Friday, September 3, 2021

-Clint Manry

The Braves made a few more minor league moves on Thursday, this time impacting two talented middle-infielders — shortstop Luke Waddell and shortstop/third baseman Vaughn Grissom.

Waddell — the Braves’ fifth-round pick in this year’s MLB Draft — has certainly enjoyed his first taste of pro ball. The 23-year-old, former Georgia Tech star, has hit .304 with six home runs and 13 RBI in just his first 21 games with High-A Rome — good enough for a well above average 148 wRC+. If you recall, I recently wrote about the kid following a stint earlier this week in which he slugged six homers in just six games for the R-Braves. I didn’t rank Waddell in my Midseason Braves Top 30, but at this rate he’s definitely on his way to making the next list. Either way, with prospect Braden Shewmake holding down shortstop for the M-Braves all this season, it’ll be interesting to see how the Mississippi roster is setup with Waddell in the mix. The lefty-hitter has experience at other positions in the infield as he also played both third and second base in college.

For Grissom (currently ranked 13th on my Top 30), the High-A assignment is sort of a long time coming. The 20-year-old has been one of the better Single-A hitters in 2021, and when healthy, he’s no doubt led the Augusta lineup. Grissom entered Thursday with a .311/.402/.446 slash-line, to go with 24 XBH and 13 stolen bases in 75 games with the GreenJackets. And it didn’t take long for the former 11th-round pick to make an impact for the R-Braves, either, as he finished his first High-A game last night 1 for 2 with a run, two walks and a stolen base. The sky is the limit for Grissom, who I think could easily become a top 5 prospect in the Braves system once he starts developing a bit more power with his bat. We have to remember, though, this kid is only 20.

Congrats to both players, and hopefully each of Waddell and Grissom can put a nice bow on what’s already been impressive seasons for the two.

Prospect infielder Vaughn Grissom returns from injured list

Thursday, July 15, 2021

-Clint Manry

There have been several roster moves over the last few days, but one of the most notable was the activation of shortstop/third baseman Vaughn Grissom (21st on my Braves Top 30). 

Grissom had been out of the Single-A Augusta GreenJackets lineup since June 25, and his absence came at a pretty bad time considering he was slashing .271/.366/.371 in 38 games so far this season. 

However, Grissom’s return Wednesday night was a strong one as the 20-year-old batted second in the GreenJackets lineup and started at third base, finishing 2 for 3 with a double, an RBI, two runs, two walks and a stolen base. Augusta lost a 10-8 shootout to Charleston but outhit the RiverDogs 9-8. 

Even though Grissom has played a lot more third base lately, he’s still a crucial prospect within the Braves system. Other than M-Braves shortstop Braden Shewmake, the org is thin when it comes to prospects capable of playing any of the up-the-middle positions. Hopefully Grissom remains healthy going forward.